Alex Stephenson

The music of composer Alex Stephenson—praised as “masterfully orchestrated” and exhibiting “sonic beauty” (San Diego Union-Tribune)—stems from a deep-rooted lyrical impulse, evoking sonic worlds that feel simultaneously fresh and familiar. He works in a variety of contexts, from acoustic and electroacoustic concert music to sound installations and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Alex’s work has been presented and commissioned by festivals including Tanglewood, Royaumont, ISCM World New Music Days, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Breckenridge Music Festival, Composers Conference, and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival. Recent and upcoming collaborators include the New Fromm Players, Flux Quartet, Duo Axis, Hausmann Quartet, HOCKET, and the La Jolla Symphony. His scholarship on overtone structures in contemporary music appears in Music Theory Online.

Alex currently serves as Instructional Assistant Professor of Music Theory & Composition at the Illinois State University School of Music. He is completing a Ph.D. at the University of California San Diego and holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the University of Chicago, and, having been a US-UK Fulbright Scholar, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.

Recent highlights:

  • An Elemental Music commissioned and premiered by the La Jolla Symphony, cond. Michael Gerdes, March 2023 (review)
  • Appointed to the music theory & composition faculty of Illinois State University, August 2022
  • Forgotten Song, commissioned by the Breckenridge Music Festival, premiered in Breckenridge, CO, August 2022
  • Article on overtone structures and politics in contemporary music published in Music Theory Online, Volume 28, no. 2, June 2022 (link)
  • Ph.D. dissertation events at UC San Diego, May 2022: premiere of Chamber Concerto (UC San Diego musicians, cond. Steven Schick), performances of Adrift (Duo Axis) and Three Reflections (Shaoai Ashley Zhang), and first in-person presentation of the sound installation Landscape with Changes (with lighting design by Jessica C. Flores)
  • Reflection featured on HOCKET’s album #What2020SoundsLike, February 2022
  • Three Reflections premiered by Shaoai Ashley Zhang, February 2022
  • Cantus named runner-up in the RED NOTE New Music Festival Composition Competition, December 2021
  • Miranda Cuckson’s performance of Soif featured on Score Follower, September 2021 (video)
  • Bloom selected for the 2021 ISCM World New Music Days, Shanghai and Nanning, China (performance postponed due to COVID-19), August 2021 (more info)
  • Landscape with Changes and Music for Car Radios presented live as part of the UC San Diego Department of Music’s “(not quite) Springfest” online event, with original video art by Anqi Liu, April 2021 (more info)
  • Bloom nominated to the World Music Days in China by the League of Composers and the ISCM Miami Chapter, March 2021
  • Bloom wins the Steven R. Gerber Second Prize in the League of Composers/ISCM Composition Competition, November 2020
  • Bloom named a prizewinner in the Hausmann Quartet Quarantine Composers Competition – A 6 feet apart production, November 2020 (more info)
  • Reflection commissioned by HOCKET for the #What2020SoundsLike miniatures project, August 2020 (video premiere, more info)

Photo credit: Wonderstruck Photography

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